A firm that tracks publicly announced job cuts said Thursday that the 2012 total was the lowest in 15 years.
By DIANE STAFFORD
The Kansas City Star
Last year’s 523,362 cuts were the least since 1997, when employers announced 434,350 job cuts, according to the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
The company also said that despite fiscal cliff worries, December had the least announced job cuts in 2012 except for August.
More layoffs were announced in the fourth quarter than in the third, but the third quarter had the fewest layoffs announced since the second quarter of 2000.
“We saw a few spikes in monthly job cuts in 2012, and there were some significant mass layoffs that definitely reminded us that not every industry is enjoying the fruits of recovery,” said Challenger’s CEO, John Challenger. “However, the overall pace of downsizing was at its slowest since the end of the recession. In fact, we have not seen this level of job cutting since before the dot-com collapse and subsequent 2001 recession.”
The biggest blip on the December job cut landscape, Challenger said, was an 11,000 reduction by Citigroup.
For the year as a whole, Challenger said, the leading job cut sector was the computer industry, which announced 46,164 layoffs.
The stopgap agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff will continue to haunt the job market, Challenger noted.
“Of course, we are hardly out of the woods,” he said. “The deal struck on Tuesday will do little to impact the nation’s soaring debt, and new battles over the debt limit and broader government spending cuts still lie ahead. As a result, the country’s employers may still lack the confidence to move forward with more aggressive hiring plans in 2013.”
Challenger has tracked announced job cuts for 20 years, and January has been the top job cut month nine times.
The next closest month is December, which has been the big job cut month three times.
Since 1993, job cuts have averaged 101,084 in January, Challenger said.
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